STAR DRIVER: Kagayaki no Takuto – 01
“Galactic Pretty Boy”
When I first heard that BONES, the studio responsible for producing masterpieces such as Eureka Seven, Xam’d: Lost Memories and Darker than BLACK, was making another original mecha series it went right to the top of my list of most anticipated anime of this fall, and so far this year’s dose of FABULOUS has not disappointed. I was dazzled by the FABULOUS production quality put into this episode, with nearly every movement the character’s made being fully animated and the action scenes looking almost as if they had a movie budget. Of course, with a FABULOUS five star cast and staff that have been involved in some of the most well received anime classics in the past twenty years, I would have been sorely surprised and disappointed if this show didn’t have the very pinnacle of production quality and budget, and boy is it a star studded team. With Igarashi Takuya directing, Ito Yoshiyuki as Chief Animation Director and Character Designer, Wakabayashi Kazuhiro directing the sound, Koyama Shigeto doing mecha designs, and a whole slew of other big names in key animation for just the first episode, it’s difficult to imagine exactly what kind of budget BONES has put into this anime.
The thing that stands out most about this anime is how blatantly flamboyant it is, striving above and beyond even what CODE GEASS has accomplished only one episode in. This is probably best indicated by our hero, the Galatic Pretty Boy Tsunashi Takuto (Miyano Mamoru), who undergoes a Mahou Shoujo transformation to enter his Cybody, Tauburn, for combat. I’m sure many people thought this was extremely and unbelievably awesome. Likewise, I’m sure many more people thought this was the most blatant display of faggotry they’ve ever seen in their lives. As for myself, you can put me, without a doubt, in the former camp. That was the most amazing showing of FABULOUS I’ve ever seen; the colors, the animation, Takuto’s speech beforehand, everything came together to make a scene I felt my legs start to quiver from. Hell, even the evil organization that Takuto must fight against, ☆ KIRABOSHI!, are FABULOUS to a certain extent, wearing carnival masks over their faces and performing outlandish rituals to move onto different phases of some type of plan they’re scheming. Taking this into consideration, there’s really no telling just how crazy this show will get with characters and their methods of getting things done.
Of course, between all the craziness that goes on at night, there appears to be some amount of sanity during the day when the characters are at school, with Takuto’s new found friends Shidou Sugata (Fukuyama Jun) and Agemaki Wako (Hayami Saori) being pretty level headed and down to Earth. Interestingly, the two of them are actually engaged to one another and appear to spend quite a bit of time together, strolling along the beach at the beginning of the episode. However, even though they’re engaged, it seems as if Wako is beginning to take an interest in Takuto, having been saved from ☆ KIRABOSHI! by him, and the two sharing a sweet ending together under the rock formation on the outskirts of the island they live on. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where the writers are going with this, so we can expect some dorama in the form of a love triangle between Takuto, Wako, and Shidou. While I’m not against such a sub plot, I simply hope it remains just that, a sub plot. I don’t want it getting in the way of the overarching plot unless it’s directly connected to it, as many anime have been ruined by overfocusing on the romantic aspect of a story when that is not what the actual focus of the plot is. A good example of this would be Valkyria Chronicles. Considering who the team is, I have confidence that they will find the right balance between the character relationship aspect of the story and the actual plot, but I’m still a bit wary as many shows go down hill because of not being able to strike that balance.
Premature worries aside, I genuinely enjoyed this first episode. The beautiful animation, amazing art, and FABULOUS antics all came together nicely to make one awesome package. My only criticism of this so far would be that the story had little to no explanation in this first episode, with Takuto apparently already knowing he possessed a mysterious power and ☆ KIRABOSHI! giving no hints as to what the “phases” they were referring to meant. BONES definitely wasted no time getting down to business, offering very little in the way of exposition. All the characters within the show apparently knew what was going on except for us, the viewers, which made me feel like this first episode was actually further into the series. I’m hoping we’ll get a little more clarification next week on exactly what went on, but I’m not stressing over it as I’m sure it was their intention to make us feel as if we were the only ones out of the loop.
All that being said, my entire post is pretty much fanboying over this anime, but make no mistake, this show will certainly be controversial, with it’s flamboyant main character and over-the-top, well, everything. Going off of this first episode, this anime really is just a case of “you like it or you don’t”, and there will be many haters harping on the fact that this might just be the most colorful series ever created. But hey, what can you do, haters gonna hate. ┐(￣ー￣)┌